Canal Street & Chinatown

This tour is great in all seasons, particularly enjoyable on weekends, and offers great insight into one of America's great east-west thoroughfares. The route is reversible, takes about three hours (lunch or dinner included), and is a bit difficult f... more

This tour is great in all seasons, particularly enjoyable on weekends, and offers great insight into one of America's great east-west thoroughfares. The route is reversible, takes about three hours (lunch or dinner included), and is a bit difficult for wheelchair users to navigate around the many pedestrians. In addition to its role as the major route connecting Brooklyn and New Jersey, Canal Street is an amazing open-air bazaar, where you’ll find a dizzying array of goods from all over the world. Start your tour at the landmark Post Office at the corner of Church Street near the Franklin Street (1 train) and Canal Street (A,C,E trains) subway stations; one of New York’s several majestic mail facilities built thanks to Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. Nearby indoor jewelry stalls compete with vintage army-navy stores across the street. The architecture is a truly bizarre hodgepodge of styles, from the ramshackle, falling-down turn-of-the-last-century tenement house to renovated warehouses. You’ll find good deals on sunglasses, luggage, postcards, electronics, computers and videotapes here. As you travel eastwards, look for odds-and-ends, hardware, rubbe... more

This tour is great in all seasons, particularly enjoyable on weekends, and offers great insight into one of America's great east-west thoroughfares. The route is reversible, takes about three hours (lunch or dinner included), and is a bit difficult for wheelchair users to navigate around the many pedestrians.

In addition to its role as the major route connecting Brooklyn and New Jersey, Canal Street is an amazing open-air bazaar, where you’ll find a dizzying array of goods from all over the world. Start your tour at the landmark Post Office at the corner of Church Street near the Franklin Street (1 train) and Canal Street (A,C,E trains) subway stations; one of New York’s several majestic mail facilities built thanks to Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. Nearby indoor jewelry stalls compete with vintage army-navy stores across the street. The architecture is a truly bizarre hodgepodge of styles, from the ramshackle, falling-down turn-of-the-last-century tenement house to renovated warehouses. You’ll find good deals on sunglasses, luggage, postcards, electronics, computers and videotapes here.

As you travel eastwards, look for odds-and-ends, hardware, rubber and industrial plastics stores. Although you might have no need for vinyl flooring or inner tubes or those hard-to-find vintage doorknobs, definitely peek inside the plastics stores, which feature everything from day-glo sheets of plastic adhesive to Statue of Liberty reproductions. After admiring the weird display of vintage fans in one store window on the south side, cross the street and head into Pearl Paint for its six floors of art supplies. No superlatives here; Pearl really does have everything. Between Centre and Lafayette Streets, examine the huge assortment of fake luxury watches, scarves, DVDs, CDs, perfumes and maybe buy a t-shirt or bracelet. If you’re wondering why some of the dealers keep their most prized goods in attaché cases, it’s because of frequent raids by US Customs and the New York City police targeting dealers in counterfeit items. Yes, this stuff really is illegal.

Moving into the Chinatown part of Canal Street, you’ll find fruit and vegetable stands, fresh fish and Asian grocery stores. Stop in to the Hong Kong-style bakeries for some delicious treats. Take a quick stroll down Baxter Street if you seek a nice Vietnamese restaurant. Visit one of the upscale jewelry stores that sell a huge variety of gold and diamond rings, and pause to admire the ornate, landmark Manhattan Bridge entry at Canal Street and Bowery. Stop in at the interesting Mahayana Buddhist Temple (with its bold and bright yellow façade) across the Bowery. Next door you can get the cheap and comfortable Fung Wah bus to Boston. From, here you can head north or south on the Bowery to visit more of Chinatown, or you can eat next door at Grand Sichuan, one of the best places to get authentic Chongqing-style Hot Pot.

Or just south of Canal Street near Centre Street go for amazing all-you-can-eat hotpot at X.O.
If you continue going east on lower Canal Street (where the roadway is both narrower and infinitely more tranquil), you’ll be rewarded with a fascinating tour of the Lower East Side, where old-style luncheonettes compete with Chinese restaurants and Asian greengrocers. Or follow the walkway down under the Manhattan Bridge to Division Street or East Broadway, where you'll find even more restaurants. From there, make a right and head down to the lower Bowery. Then cross the Bowery, go one block north, and continue your Chinatown tour by making a left on Bayard Street. Maybe it's time for a visit to the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory? Need directions? Just ask anyone!


Drag the street view to look around 360°.
Use the arrow buttons to navigate down the street and around the neighborhood!

Tribeca Description

Canal Street & Chinatown is located in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan. TriBeCa, or the Triangle Below Canal Street, became a popular neighborhood for artists and others seeking relief from the rising prices in SoHo in the late 1980s. In some ways similar to the SoHo of decades past for its conversion of gritty old industrial warehouses into beautiful loft spaces, the real estate boom of the later 1990s transformed forever the small-town feeling of TriBeCa. No longer is it tough to find good food, grocery stores or newsstands. Chic boutiques now compete with high-end restaurants and bars, while the influx of upper-income families have led to the quick disappearance of the downright cheap apartment bargains of years past. Forbes magazine recently ranked the 10013 zip code in TriBeCa as the 12th most expensive zip code in the United States. Anonymous high-rises are sprouting up next to the historic older buildings, whose cast-iron façades and gleaming picture windows bespeak a New York of decades past. TriBeCa is a neighborhood where luxury apartments can be found adjacent to city government offices, where the quiet of cobblestone streets contrasts with the heavily trafficked truck routes to the Holland Tunnel, so one should expect the unexpected. In short, expect a microcosm of New York.

Recently the neighborhood profile has been raised tremendously by the new TriBeCa Film Festival. Founded by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal in 2002, this New York attraction was created to celebrate the city as a major filmmaking center and to contribute to the long-term recovery of lower Manhattan. In a remarkably short period of time the TriBeCa Film Festival has become known as one of the leading annual film festivals in the world. Other famous film companies are in the neighborhood as well, most notably Miramax Films Studios on Greenwich Street.

In the 19th and 20th centuries TriBeCa was known as a center of the textile and cotton trade, but today in its stead there are a number of modern institutions and important landmarks in the neighborhood. The Holland Tunnel connecting New York to New Jersey has its entrances and exits in the northwest corner of TriBeCa. Washington Market Park, bordering Greenwich, Chambers, and West Streets, is a 1.6-acre park that is extremely popular with children for its large playground. While in terms of educational institutions, Stuyvesant High School, one of New York City's prized specialized science high schools, as well as PS234, an elementary school considered one of the best public schools in the New York metropolitan area, are located in TriBeCa.

Brunch, lunch and dinner activities in TriBeCa are highly regarded, not just due to the excellent (and usually expensive) cuisine options, but also in regard to the relative tranquil atmosphere of the neighborhood. Bubby's Restaurant on Varick Street remains popular among the film crowd and is known to be a family friendly restaurant. The Odeon on West Broadway provides the most beloved bistro setting and French comfort food in the neighborhood. And for more refined tastes, Robert De Niro has ownership in not one but two well-known local restaurants here. The TriBeCa Grill, located between Franklin and Greenwich Streets in the first two floors of the TriBeCa Film Center Building, offers classic American cuisine in a converted industrial warehouse setting, and Nobu, a favorite haunt of many New York celebrities, which serves innovative "new style Japanese cooking" to those who are willing to handle the hefty prices on the menu. In addition, the numerous David Bouley properties are always a favorite.

Staying in TriBeCa during a stay in Manhattan can offer visitors a welcome escape from the hectic, bustling streets of the neighborhoods in and near Midtown. An obvious choice would be the Tribeca Grand Hotel which plays host to the TriBeCa Film Festival and lies in close proximity to Little Italy, Chinatown, Hudson Square nightclubs, Greenwich Village, New York University, and Wall Street. The Greenwich Hotel, located on the Western edge of the neighborhood right next to the TriBeCa Grill, offers 13 luxury suites and 75 unique rooms. The Cosmopolitan Hotel in southern TriBeCa is geared to the needs of out-of-town visitors and has affordable rooms, a convenient location, and newly refurbished in-house restaurant, the Cosmopolitan Café.

Editorial Rating

Nearby Subway

  • to Canal Street
  • to East Broadway